Students voting in U.S. election

Students show support for democracy south of the border


People standing in front of the Dalhousie University Student Union Building with sign announcing the U.S. election party
A banner on the Dalhousie Student Union Building advertises the U.S. election party on November 6, at 7 p.m. Photo: Jessica Emin

American students living in Halifax believe their vote in the presidential election is important whether they’re living in the U.S., or not.

Nicole Adduci, one of 146 American Dalhousie students, says all American citizens should have a say in how the country is run and people don’t have the right to complain if they pass on their chance to participate in the democratic process.

“I think a lot of people see our generation as being apathetic and we can all do our part to change that story by getting involved,” says the Massachusetts native.

Adduci voted via e-mail and said it was relatively easy, but there were many steps to the process.

The U.S presidential election Tuesday is expected to be the tightest race in a decade.

A report, Voter Turnout Among College Student released in 2006, found that turnout was higher among U.S. students whose college town or hometown was in a battleground state.

There are an estimated one million American citizens living in Canada and those votes could make an enormous difference in the U.S. presidential election, especially in battleground states.

Randi Beers, a King’s journalism student from Minnesota, says she didn’t vote in the election because she “let the date slip away” and because she says her state is historically a democratic stronghold.

“If I was from Ohio it would be a different story. It’s more of a battlefield state,” says Beers.

Student Maddie Wilson from Minnesota voted and thinks participating in the election is important even if she’s not currently living in the U.S. because she thinks she’ll end up back there eventually.

Wilson echoes some of Adduci’s comments on people not voting. She says she really dislikes it when people complain about politics but don’t exercise their right to vote.

“They should be taking advantage of the fact they live in a democracy and have a say in government,” she says.

Barrett Limoges wanted to vote, but experienced some difficulty in the process. He says that there was “some computer glitch” and his records couldn’t be found among the registered voter log even if he had voted in previous state elections.

Because of this glitch, his state, Maine, was not able to send him his absentee ballot quickly enough for him to make the voter deadline.

Under normal circumstances he would vote, he says.

Canadian love for elections

American students aren’t the only ones who have a strong interest in the American presidential election. Some Canadian students are just as caught up in the issue even if they don’t have an official say in the matter.

The Dalhousie Political Science Society is set to congregate tomorrow night to watch the live election coverage and several groups of students will meet in and bars to catch the media frenzy.

On Monday they were in the Student Union Building selling blue and red cupcakes representing the two major U.S. political parties. The purchased cupcakes represented a hypothetical vote from Dalhousie students.

A sign in the Dalhousie Student Union Building explains how to use a massage chair. It reads "Chairs cannot make change". In permanent marker above someone has written "Obama will!"
An instructional sign for a massage chair in the Dalhousie Student Union Building got some new markings. Photot: Jessica Emin

Limoges says he finds it “kind of funny that Canadians are more interested in our politics than their own.”

On Monday, the Globe and Mail published a free, tabloid-sized 24-page colour special edition on the U.S. election. They were handed out in six major cities in Canada, including Halifax and the Dalhousie campus.

The Canadian newspaper says the special edition is unlike anything they’ve ever done before.

Wilson says she finds it interesting and surprising that Canadian students follow U.S. politics so closely.

Wilson says she sometimes hears Canadians say they’d like to vote in the U.S .election and she thinks it’s “cool” that Canadians care so much.

“It’s also a testament to what a media sensation the U.S. elections are, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.”